Exploring Collections: Facebook is testing a big new e-commerce feature for businesses

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 25, 2012

Facebook has built itself a pretty great set of offerings for businesses that want to use the social network to promote their products and services. Companies can have their own Pages, they can generate social shares, they can encourage engagement through liking, commenting, and tagging, they can purchase Facebook ads, and they can pay a few bucks to promote their posts to a wider audience, thus increasing page views, awareness, and, hopefully, overall “likes.”

But for most companies, one piece of the Facebook marketing puzzle has been missing. Driving engagement on the social network is a big step toward increased sales, but all the engagement in the world won’t give your bottom line a boost if your Facebook fans don’t end up buying your product. To date, a handful of companies have been able to sell their products through Facebook with the help of third-party applications and developers, but for those organizations that can’t or won’t shell out the big bucks for a customized merchant app, many of their fans don’t have easy access to the “purchasing” step of the marketing cycle. Facebook just hasn’t offered any features designed to help companies actively sell their products through the Facebook system.

Until now.

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Topics: Business, business, campaign, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, Marketing, media, network, pinterest, ROI, social, strategy, tips

Trick-or-Treating Your Way to Marketing Success

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 15, 2012

Think way back to your early career as a professional Trick-or-Treater. If you were anything like me, you had a pretty good lay of the neighborhood when it came to the houses that gave the best candy. The big Georgian two blocks over was the first stop, because they gave the full-size candy bars, and you had to get there early if you wanted to snag a Snickers. The Ranch across the street gave only Tootsie Rolls and those weird, hard, peanut butter chews wrapped in nondescript black and orange wax paper wrappers. That house was to be avoided at all costs. The A-frame on the corner didn’t always give the best candy, but they turned their whole front yard into an enclosed haunted house, and the experience alone was worth the walk.

Knowing where to get the best treats was imperative as a kid, because you were putting in a lot of work. You and your parents spent a lot of time brainstorming, then making or buying costumes. You agonized over the perfect amount of white make-up to make your face look convincingly undead. You braved the chilly weather, clad in only tights and a green dress, because the real Tinker Bell never wore a jacket, by golly. And if you were going to go through all that trouble, you wanted the sweetest bang for your buck.

Now, several decades later, here you are, working in the real world, and while you might not realize it, your company is hosting its own version of “Trick or Treat” this year. In fact, you deal with Trick-or-Treaters every day. You have customers who put in a lot of effort to search out your products in the marketplace. They find you online, they research your company, they ask their friends for recommendations, and they determine whether or not your product is worth the price. It’s up to you to offer those customers the kind of treat that will keep them coming back year after year, or month after month, or week after week.

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Topics: autumn, Business, business, campaign, dashboard, facebook, fall, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, halloween, holiday, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

When the Candidates Speak: Part 1 of a study in social media politics

Posted by Clayton Smith on October 2, 2012

Election Day is getting closer and closer, and both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are going full steam ahead with their presidential campaigns. Odds are, you’re seeing evidence of the election everywhere; stories on the news, ads during prime time, signs in your neighbor’s yard, and, yes, posts popping up on your social networks.

Social media became a major player in a presidential election for the first time in 2008, a race that Businessweek called “the first social media election.” 2008 was the first time a massive number of people took to social networks to discuss the presidential race, and the major platforms (chiefly Facebook and Twitter) have experienced explosive growth in the last four years. 2008 may have been the first social media election, but 2012 dwarfs it in scope.

Which, of course, begs an obvious question: Just how much of an impact does social media campaigning have on voters?

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Topics: 2012, analytics, business, campaign, dashboard, education, election, facebook, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, political, politics, Politics, president, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

To Schedule, or Not to Schedule? Finding a balance between scheduled and spontaneous social media marketing

Posted by Clayton Smith on September 10, 2012

One of Gremln’s most popular features is the message scheduler, which lets you set up your social media messages to post at a designated point in the future. The reason for its popularity is simple; time is an incredibly important (and finite) resource, and the more of it you can save, the better. We’ve heard it mentioned once or twice that time is money—which makes Gremln’s scheduler a tool that saves you a little of both.

Setting up your social media messages in advance saves you the time of logging in and posting them, one by one, at the best times for social media interaction. Heck, Gremln even has a bulk schedule tool that lets you upload and schedule an entire month’s worth (or, dare we say it, year’s worth) of tweets and posts with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Which leads to a very important question that we get asked pretty often. We make it possible to schedule all of your social media posts--but how many should you schedule?

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, crm, dashboard, facebook, google+, google plus, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, media, network, ROI, social, social media, strategy, twitter

Overcoming Social Media Fear: 5 Steps to a Braver Brand

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 27, 2012

Earlier this year, the CFO for Francesca’s Holdings, a retail clothing company, tweeted, “Board meeting.Good numbers=Happy Board,” and in doing so violated SEC regulations regarding fair disclosure. He was fired on the next business day.

In March of 2011, a social media representative at New Media Strategies, a social media marketing agency, who was handling Chrysler’s Twitter account accidentally posted a tweet to @ChryslerAutos that was actually meant for his own, personal account. The tweet read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to [expletive deleted] drive.” The representative was fired from New Media Strategies, NMS was taken off the Chrysler account, and Chrysler found itself scrambling to engage in damage control.

And in July of this year, Celeb Boutique, a fashion company, saw that #Aurora was trending on Twitter and decided to take advantage of the trend by tweeting, “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ;)” with a link to the company’s online store. What they didn’t realize, of course, is that the reason #Aurora was trending was because of the tragic incident that occurred at the Aurora Century movie theater during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Understandably, the backlash was instantaneous and extremely damaging.

These are just a few examples of companies and representatives that have suffered the potential pitfalls of social media. They are by no means alone. In the past few years, we’ve seen similar stories from American Red Cross, McDonald’s, former Representative Anthony Weiner, Gilbert Gottfried, and many, many more. Social media snafus happen every day. They’re usually embarrassing, and although they sometimes go by unnoticed, they can also be incredibly damaging, to corporate brands and personal careers alike.

There’s just no way around it; social media can be scary.

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Topics: analytics, Business, business, campaign, compliance, dashboard, education, facebook, fear, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, Marketing, regulation, regulatory, ROI, social media, strategy, twitter

Social Media 101: Facebook's EdgeRank Formula

Posted by Clayton Smith on August 8, 2012

“Social Media 101” is a series for social media beginners where we discuss the basics of social media marketing. Today, we examine what is arguably one of the most important content concepts in social media: Facebook’s EdgeRank formula.

EdgeRank is a ranking system designed by Facebook that determines how many of your company page’s fans actually see each of your Facebook posts. Believe it or not, the vast majority of your Facebook fans do not see your status updates, photos, videos, or links in their news feeds. Rather, the number of posts in an individual’s news feed is culled by Facebook in order to lessen the amount of social overload Facebook users would likely experience if every post from every friend and every business page posted to each person’s news feed. Researchers estimate that, on average, only about 17% of total Facebook friend and fan page posts actually appear in a user’s news feed.

EdgeRank is a mathematical algorithm that filters out Facebook posts based on three variables; Affinity, Edge Weight, and Time Decay. The more successful a post is in each of these areas, the higher its rank, and the more people will see it.

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Topics: 101, business, comment, facebook, gremlin, gremln, like, Marketing, media, post, ROI, share, social, social media, Social Media News, strategy, tag, Timeline, tutorial

7 Steps to Social Media Intern Success

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 17, 2012

A lot of social media advisers will tell you, unequivocally, unabashedly, without hesitation, and without reservation, to never, ever, ever, even in times of great desperation, put your company’s social media into the hands of an intern. The reasons they’re likely to cite for this are many; interns are untrained; interns are unproven; interns are untested; interns have limited experience; interns turn over faster than steaks on a grill. And are you really going to entrust your most accessible and spreadable public voice to a college student who is unfamiliar with your company and, in all likelihood, not even on your payroll?

These are all excellent points, and for many people, they outweigh the distinct benefits of intern social media management (namely, interns are cheap, they’re eager, and they tend to be digital natives). But sometimes, a dedicated social media employee just isn’t an option. Non-profit organizations and smaller companies with extreme budgetary constraints (or even budgetary non-existence) can find it impossible to justify the resources needed to manage an ongoing social media presence.

In other words, sometimes there’s no choice: Hire a social media intern, or forego a social media presence altogether.

Despite the warnings of naysayers, though, utilizing a social media intern doesn’t have to be a doomsday scenario. It just requires a little careful preparation.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, facebookt, gremlin, gremln, intern, internship, linkedin, management, media, non-profit, organization, ROI, small business, social, social media, strategy, success, team, twitter

Twitter, UnLinked -- How Twitter's recent changes affect LinkedIn users, and how Gremln can help

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 2, 2012

If you have a LinkedIn account, you probably received an email last week explaining that their relationship with Twitter has changed. Until recently, users could connect their LinkedIn accounts to their Twitter accounts and have their tweets posted automatically to their LinkedIn timelines. In other words, if you posted a tweet on Twitter, it automatically posted to LinkedIn as well. But Twitter has altered its sharing strategy a bit, and it’s closed off LinkedIn’s ability to post users’ tweets on its own site.

The move is a good reminder to LinkedIn, and to all of us, that social networks are constantly evolving. Like so many companies, Twitter is exploring new ways to maximize its product potential, and their search for industry nirvana has caused them to change up their third-party sharing settings. As a result, LinkedIn has had to shift its own product a bit, and all LinkedIn users who have relied on the connection between the two networks to post their tweets to their LinkedIn timelines are going to have to shift their habits a bit, too.

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Topics: adapt, analytics, business, change, dashboard, education, facebook, gremlin, gremln, linkedin, media, news feed, ROI, social, social media, Social Media News, Social Media Updates, strategy, Timeline, twitter

The Power of the Survey

Posted by Clayton Smith on July 2, 2012

Okay, quick survey: How many of you hate taking surveys?

If you just rolled your eyes at even the suggestion of taking a survey, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I couldn’t manage to dig up any actual survey data on how many people refuse to take surveys (for obvious reasons), but I know the number’s pretty steep.

I know it because I’ve been on both ends; the giving (“Well, hm. Why aren’t more people taking my customer survey?”) and the receiving (“Oh man. Another customer survey? Oy.”). Surveys take time, and they’re often pretty dry. Taking a survey isn’t nearly as fun as, say, Rickrolling a co-worker.

But surveys are incredibly important for businesses – what better way to find out what your customer wants than by asking? – and if you think about it, they’re pretty flattering for us as consumers. Businesses create surveys in order to pinpoint our thoughts and attitudes about their products or services, presumably so they can better serve us and make us that much happier with our purchases. It’s a great thing to have the opportunity to enhance, or even alter, a company’s approach to the public marketplace just by sharing your thoughts and opinions. Your voice can, in a very real and literal sense, change a company for the better.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, education, gremlin, gremln, Gremln News, Marketing, media, ROI, social, social media, strategy, survey

Recruiting Outside of LinkedIn: 3 ways Facebook can help you find your next employee

Posted by Clayton Smith on June 20, 2012

According to some pretty recent data, LinkedIn is the number one social network choice for recruiters looking to fill corporate positions. In fact, “over 80% of employers who use social media for recruiting use LinkedIn,” and, according to one study, 48% of recruiters use only LinkedIn to find potential job candidates.

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, sure, that makes sense.” After all, LinkedIn is pretty widely regarded as the professional social networking platform. It was built specifically to encourage online business connections and, for many people, LinkedIn acts as an online resume, so it may be no surprise that recruiters focus their social energies there. But here’s what probably will surprise you; according to the same study, the majority of people who successfully found a job through social media did so via Facebook, and not LinkedIn. In fact, according to the survey, 18,400,000 Americans claim Facebook helped them land their new job, and only 10,200,000 give LinkedIn the same credit.

Recruiters are utilizing LinkedIn, but job seekers are almost twice as likely to find a job on Facebook. That’s a heck of a discrepancy.

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Topics: Business, business, dashboard, facebook, Free, gremlin, gremln, hiring, hr, human resources, linkedin, Marketing, media, recruit, recruiter, recruiting, ROI, social, social media dashboard, strategy, twitter

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